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The NABU Six Month Report

February 10, 2017

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has released its 6 month report to the public.  Unfortunately for most readers the 68 page report is only publicly available in Ukrainian – or at least at the time of writing no English version has been found hidden within the dark and murky corners of the Internet.

Nevertheless, the report can be found here.

Some interesting numbers include the fact that currently NABU is thus far investigating 264 corruption cases that amount to UAH 82.9 billion in nefariously acquired assets.

Put in context, that figure exceeds the forecast for the budget deficit of the Ukrainian nation in 2017.

Currently NABU has arrested funds in the amounts of UAH 601.94 million, $80.16 million, €7.41 million and £3170, notwithstanding a lot of immovable and movable property – all of which has yet to find its way back to the State coffers due to a distinct lack of court verdicts.

Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, it appears only 23% of current investigations involve the heads of State or municipal owned companies.

Clearly the bottleneck, or more accurately point of due process constipation, can be attributed to the courts and judicial system.

The requirement for a specialised anti-corruption court is made not only by reason of appointing only the most unsullied of unsullied judges to such a court for reasons of integrity, but also to avoid/reduce (the probably deliberate) due process backlog.

However the functioning of the courts are not the remit of NABU – other the than busting corrupt judiciary which certainly is within its remit.

Looking at the current state of play, the most obvious tool still deliberately being withheld from NABU is the ability to conduct its own SIGINT by way of wiretapping, (so perhaps COMINT would be more precise).  NABU is still reliant upon the SBU, which clearly has implications regarding the integrity and confidentiality of NABU operations.

Will the Verkhovna Rada find the political will to pass the pending legislation that will allow NABU (with due cause) the ability to wiretap those very parliamentarians and others within the political, and institutional elite?

It seems very unlikely, and thus corruption among the elites, which is a rather diplomatic way of putting a veneer upon what is in effect organised crime more often than not, is unlikely to be tackled anywhere near as effectively as it could and should be.  Organised crime is often (rightly) cited as a threat to national security by many nations – ne’er more so can it be so when a nation is at war, which Ukraine is.

Nevertheless the NABU report has to be welcomed – not only for reasons of transparency but also because it clearly identifies (what everybody already knows) the points of constipation within the process that prevent justice being seen to be done – and the continuing lack of political and institutional will to correct matters.

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